Thursday, April 30, 2009

Watcha gonna do?

So today's big news is that the state universities in Arizona altered (reduced) their tuition surcharge requests and they were all adopted by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) with the exception of ASU. Not Good.

ASU had been requesting $1,200 per student and then last night reduced that amount to $600 for in state and $800 for out of state students. Today ABOR approved $510. At a school with over 60,000 students this means millions and millions of dollars in shortfall. This means more layoffs and/or furloughs. I was hoping to head into my big race weekend on a more positive note.

The good news is that my back is slowly getting better and I'm planning on racing this weekend. I'm also hoping to be able to enjoy some time away from work in the next couple of days when I'm sure people will be very distressed over this latest news. I think we are all ready for some closure one way or another. Like so many things it's the waiting that's killer.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Back in the pool

I got out for a light swim during lunch today. The outdoor pool at work opened this week and it was a brisk 68 degrees in the water. Thank god it was warm out today or I never would have made it. The good news was that I could swim - the bad news was that it hurt. I swam an easy 600 and then did some stretching. If the race were today I don't think I could do it, but the race is Saturday so I still have some time.

68 degree water is no joke. Especially without a wetsuit. No word on water temp in Vegas, but it's going to feel toasty after today's swim.

Enough w/ the doom and gloom

I'm getting psyched for this weekend.

This weekend I get to race - a real race, the kind where I get to swim fast, bike fast, and run fast. Oh, and it's on trails, someplace warm, that's a short drive, and I get a sweet vacation out of it.

I took Monday and Tuesday totally off to get my back to calm down. It's working and I have a lot more range of motion, but still not enough to race. I'm going to try and swim today and see if I can loosen it up some more and see where I'm at. My mental game is coming along nicely and I know I'll be ready to race come Saturday morning.

Today my off-season tri coach made an unexpected stop by my office and got me really fired up to bring it this weekend. This economy needs to turn around cause I could be sooo much faster if I worked out with Dameon. If Thursday's meeting goes well and I keep my job I've got a new bike lined up as well. I'm not going to jinx it, but it's going to be sweet.

Year two of racing XTERRA starts Saturday. Hell yea!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Not Good

Yesterday was my last big workout before XTERRA West this coming weekend. I headed out to the McDowell Mtn. race park where they have a collection of awesome high speed loops for riding. A was going to hike with the dog while I practiced riding/running. When we arrived the paramedics were there along with the sheriff and life flight chopper. Word at the park was a rider was badly injured on one of the loops and having to be carried out and then flown out for treatment. It wasn't good. My thoughts go out to the rider and his family.

I hit the sport loop x 2 for a warmup and easy 6 miles. I got the feel of my recently tuned bike on the first 3 and tried to hammer the last 3 at race pace. I threw the bike in the car and hit the trail on foot for a fast 3 mile transition run. The sun was relentless and I could feel myself heating up much faster than I would have liked, but I held a great pace for the run.

I got the bike back out and hit the more technical section of trail with lots of good climbing. 4 miles of riding here at race pace and then 2 miles running, again at race pace. The mileage was pretty light today but I made up for it with the effort. Got home in time for some lunch and a dip in the pool.

This is where the trouble starts. After lunch I began working on our gutters which involved lots of overhead lifting, twisting, and balancing on a ladder. Post brick workout this was extra tough. I got everything installed just fine but when I went to hang the ladder back in the garage it got away from me and I tweaked my back. It didn't seem to bad at the time, but then came this morning...

My back is jacked up. It feels like two steel rods run on either side of my spine. I've had this happen before and recovery is slow. I hit the gym this morning to warm it up and do some yoga. I'm trying to stretch it out every hour here at the office, but it is still tight and sitting all day isn't going to help.

Goals for the week:
  1. keep my job
  2. get healthy for XTERRA Vegas
  3. finish grad school application
  4. be in a good mood for our long weekend vacation in Vegas
Saturday - 2800m swim
Sunday - 6 mile ride/3 mile run, 4 mile ride/2 mile run

Saturday, April 25, 2009


OK, this week is quickly getting crazy and it hasn't even started yet. A couple of updates:
  • XTERRA Snow Valley is canceled? WTF? First they moved the date, OK I'm cool with that, but now they cancel the whole thing. At the same time your top 4 races count this year. How is anyone supposed to hit 4 races without flying all over the country?
  • I find out Thursday afternoon if I still have a job. Months of waiting, ups/downs, and now it all comes down to this Thursday. Conveniently right before XTERRA Vegas. Here's hoping for some good news going into the weekend.
  • With my employment status lurking and race schedule in jeopardy, this week has me distracted to say the least. I'm considering some big changes.
At this point I'm thinking of scrapping XTERRA and just doing some different and unique races for fun. Mega Colossus? 1/2 IM? Anyone know of other cool races to take my mind off everything here this week?

Friday - 20 mile road ride home

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wordle Cloud

Wordle is a cool utility I found working on a project for work. I used it to produce a word cloud of my blog. Awesome.

Wednesday: 40 miles road bike, 2 mile run
Thursday: Rest

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Monday - 2,800 in the pool (200, 400 pull, 400 pull w/paddles, 400 w/paddles, 400, 400 pull, 400 pull w/paddles, 200). A weekend of rest really paid off. I felt great in the pool. After work I ran a solid 4 miles with A. I was really feeling good on the run. It is so cool to feel fast and confident running - that's never been the case.

Tuesday - Worked out at the gym. 15 minutes of an intense pace on the stair machine, really pushed it lifting and doing core this morning. After work I went for an easy 1.5 mile run with the dog. It was a hot one today, 102! Some recovery lounging in the pool and time with the stick.

Wednesday - Part I is done: 20 mile road ride into work this morning. Riding the 20 home and then a transition run.

9 days until Vegas. 9 days.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday Morning Pain Train

Getting caught up:
Friday - I hit the gym for some resistance work after my long ride on Thursday and then went to a friend's show opening in the downtown arts district. Rode the new light rail and got to see a cool part of town we hadn't explored yet. Good times.

Saturday - was planning to do some training but ended up just working on the house, tuning up the race bike (I can now shift to the small ring), and enjoying owning our own pool. Sat. night we rode bikes to a party - I don't think these miles (14) count. Oh, I did ride the trainer for 30min waiting for A to get ready, but that was more so I could watch Superbad.

Sunday - Slept in. Breakfast in the pool. Blew off training and went to the zoo with A before coming home and installing a new wireless network drive and trying to get it to play nice with my PC and A's Mac.

So this past week was supposed to be a rest week, but I trained most of the week until the weekend, when I had planned on training, but wound up doing a whole lot of nothing on the training front. It was fantastic. I'm not a pro, I'm not winning any money, and I have great friends and family with whom to spend time with, and sometimes that's just the ticket.

Less than two weeks until XTERRA West. My plan is for an absolutely brutal week this week with crazy mileage in all areas and then an easy taper week. I put in a hard 2,600 in the pool this morning and that is just the start!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bike+Bike+Hills = pain

Thursday was all about the bike. In fact, most days have been about the bike lately. I rode a total of 28 miles on the road (beater commuter MTB) and 10 on the trail (Niner race bike). the 10 on the trail were pretty much all hill repeats trying to improve my climbing.

Unfortunately, my trail riding was after 21 miles of road riding and on some pretty technical sections of trail, so I was struggling. I was also riding alone and I always fear having to call A because I've busted my head open when riding alone so I tend to "play it safe" which I think is probably more dangerous than just bombing through sections.

Last season in XTERRA my bike and my run were mediocre at best. I think my poor runs had more to do with poor biking than running. I would expend too much energy on the bike and was spent by the run. This year I trained and completed the 1/2 marathon as some off-season work on my running and I've been riding longer and harder than at any point in my life. I'm really hoping this pays off in two weeks.

Two weeks. That's pretty much all I have until XTERRA West. I'm excited and nervouse for what I'm hoping will be an amazing weekend. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

16 days

XTERRA West in 16 days. An entire off-season and 12 weeks of training have passed me by and there is still so much I want to accomplish before my first "A" race of the year. I think it will always feel this way.....On the wish list is a new tri suit, goggles, dialed in nutrition, and some bike work. Damn.

27:00, 1,600 in the pool today. Right around a 1:40/100 pace. I was hoping for a little faster split than that, but I am still training in my heavy board shorts so I figure that adds quite a bit of drag over 1600. I felt confident with the distance which is more what it was about.

This week was supposed to be a rest week, but I've been toying with some training instead. Monday I lifted hard at the gym and Tuesday I rode the trainer and didn't lift. This morning I only swam, so far it is an easier week. Thursday I'm hoping to hit up SoMo for a gnarly brick workout biking/running only hills. Rumor has it that XTERRA West has some nasty elevation changes.

I've been selling a ton of stuff on eBay to build funds for a new bike. It's looking like a cyclocross bike may be in my future. I'd use it mostly for commuting/training and then I'd swap out some tires for the 1/2 IM later this year. I'm getting more excited about completing a 1/2 IM this year than about XTERRA.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My first shower at home

This morning was my first shower at home in the month of April - that's 14 days. I'm pretty sure it has been longer than that, but I'm positive I've gone all of April until today. Have I been forgoing basic hygiene? How do I still have a wife? Friends? Am I just such a great guy that they can see past my disgusting exterior. The answer is no, and actually quite simple.

In the month of April I have been showering exclusively at the gym and at work. My shower at home felt foreign this morning. It is questionable that the 4th shower stall from the right in the local 24hr fitness feels more comfortable these days - especially because it is probably used by 20 or 30 other people a day, but that's the state of things at the moment. With early mornings spent at the gym and lunchtime workouts thrown in to keep it interesting I'm doing a lot of showering away from home, and I like it. That's right - I like it.

Despite are increased watering of the garden at home and the need to fill the pool more frequently, our water bill was lower last month. I'm also not using any hot water at home so our water heater isn't working as hard and we're saving electricity too. Those that know me understand just how soothing these reductions are to my psyche. I've also established a pretty comfortable routine and have been enjoying my morning gym addiction. I'm a lot more efficient at the gym than I am at home and with a busy training and life schedule every minute counts.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Tri Style

Today is Easter and what an Easter it was. A and I spent the day with friends and family and I managed to spend a lot of it on my bike. Amazing day!

I set an ambitious plan for the day that revolved around biking, running, and eating multiple times. I covered over 35 miles today, none of it by car, and linked together so many neighborhoods I'd only been in individually.

Phase 1 - K&T's house for brunch. This is a pretty straightforward ride that we do a lot to see our friends who live just to the north of us. I took the "long" way and made it 7 miles door to door. A was supposed to meet me at the house with running clothes for a transition run and then casual clothes but beat her there. I'd already had a mimosa when she arrived so I scrapped the transition run and just changed into something more comfortable.

We had a great time hanging out in the backyard. Friends, dogs, food, a little badminton - good times.
backyard Easter brunch
Phase 2 - Another change back into bike clothes and it was off to A's parent's house. It was a nice mixture of bike lane, multi-use path, singletrack, and canal paths. HUGE rattlesnake in the road just off the bike lane. I stopped to take pictures, but the rest of the pics were taken on the go.
preparing to head out again
huge rattler
multi-use in the Papagos
riding the canal
I arrived at A's parent's house and made a quick change to running clothes and then cranked out a hard 1.5 mile run on the crazy steep roads S. of Camelback Mountain. I ran this last summer when I lived there and it was always brutal. I felt so much stronger today despite the 18 miles I'd ridden. Back at the house I snuck a quick cold shower and then another change of clothes.

ran the road up there
We had nice visit with A's folks and enjoyed more of the incredible AZ sunshine before it was time for another change of clothes back into bike clothes.

Phase 3 - The ride home was awesome. Great weather, mostly downhill, and I was still feeling strong on the bike. I got home and A was going to go for a 5 mile run - I should have done it - but I wussed out and promised myself to go hard this next week instead. Still a good day.

headed home
Bike miles 36
Run miles 1.5
Change of clothes 5x
Saturday - big day in the pool 3,500m and then rode the lightrail downtown to watch the Diamondbacks get trounced by LA. Sweet stadium - bad game.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What doesn't kill you

Wednesday night's ride home from work was brutal. It sucked. It hurt. It was scary. And I kind of liked it...because I'm sick that way. 20 mph headwinds the whole way with gusts up to 29 mph. At one point I actually had to ride the sidewalk because I wasn't able to keep my bike in the bike lane safely. My parents and sister are nuts for riding motorcycles. Nuts.

The positive from this ride was that mentally it was a great workout. The frustration, fear, and challenge are all things that are present on race day. It is almost impossible to create adversity for yourself in training, which is why days like yesterday are so important and pushing through is so valuable in training.

The other positive was that I was supposed to have four hill climbs in yesterday's workout, but my route was totally flat so having to stand just to make forward progress on the gusty flats was a great substitute.

Solid lift session at the gym this morning and no other training for today. Resting up a little bit for a big weekend of training. I've got some calf cramping going on at the office today so I'll break out the stick and foam roller for the office and parks and recreation tonight.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday 4-8-09

Last night I got home, drank a beer, and got in the pool. 92 degrees in Phoenix. Not a bad day.
Today the plan is to bike home from work on the beater bike. Still trying to sell my 29er frame from last season to pay for a new cyclocross bike which will make these road miles much more enjoyable.

Wednesday: AM lift chest/legs, PM 20 mile road ride home from work (beater MTB, loaded down, 20 mph headwind)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Registered for my first"A" race of the year. XTERRA West Cup Championships. Time to get busy.....

Monday: PM easy 20 min run
Tuesday: AM swim (3x200, 2x200, 3x150, 5x100, 8x50) 2, 350 good amount of speed work today.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Quick update

Friday: AM swim 2,600
Saturday: 4 mile easy MTB with A. She took a nasty spill (cuts, scrapes, totally busted ankle) 1.5 miles in and pushed on for a little while before we called it quits - bummer because we were riding up in Sedona.
Sunday: Rest day chillaxing at the in-laws house up north. Drank coffee, got in the hot-tub, helped out with some yard work and did some IT stuff for my father in-law.
Monday: AM lift - lunchtime run becomes an after work run

I'll post some pictures from the weekend soon.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pushing through the pain...

Wednesday I overslept and missed my AM gym workout. Probably for the best. I had a dentist appointment in the afternoon so I was able to hit the trails early enough to take advantage of all the daylight.

Drop car at mechanic for oil change - run home 1.5 miles
At home, jump on bike and ride to SoMo 6 miles, ~ 18 miles on trail, 6 miles home
1.5 run, 30 bike

When I got back from the ride I was totally shelled. I have got to dial in my nutrition for these long rides. I've never ridden this long before on any consistent basis and I need to do a better job of eating on the trail so I don't crash and burn. Rode plenty of new singletrack on the mountain yesterday which was so sweet. Took a bunch of pics but haven't uploaded them yet.

AM gym - total body work + core
Lunchtime track workout 600m supersets - 1.5m warm up, 4 x (400+200), 1.5 cool down.

Plenty of sunshine and high 70s today. Not much wind for a change which made the supersets a lot more enjoyable. Friday is supposed to be a rest day but I'm thinking about knocking out my 3,500m swim in the morning.